Game 619 – Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3

Game 619
Canadiens 5, Maple Leafs 3
Saturday, January 27, 1990
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The ammunition ran out.

That, in its simplest form, is the bottom line to the Leafs’ 5-3 loss at the Gardens last night to the Montréal Canadiens which ended Toronto’s win streak at a season-high five games..

The assault weapon known as the Toronto offence fired at will and built a quick lead but suddenly found itself firing blanks.

The Canadiens, hardly considered armed and dangerous, proved nonetheless to be extremely opportunistic and deadly with their aim.

The Leafs, playing their second game in as many nights as was Montréal, also felt the absence of injured forwards Ed Olczyk and Wendel Clark and missed the physical presence of suspended winger John Kordic.

Gilles Thibaudeau and Mike Stevens were called up earlier in the day to replace Olczyk and Clark and played well, but had large shoes to fill.

Mark Osborne’s pair of power play goals and Gary Leeman’s 32nd marker of the year had the Leafs cruising with a 3-0 first period lead, but they soon found themselves in a tailspin.

Goals just 38 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period by Stéphane Richer and Guy Carbonneau breathed new life into the Canadiens, who took a 4-3 lead on goals by Richer and Mike McPhee in the second against Jeff Reese.

Mike Keane added Montréal’s fifth unanswered goal just 1:15 into the third period, dashing the Leafs’ hopes of pulling to within three points of first-place Chicago in the Norris standings. The Blackhawks were 6-4 losers to the Whalers in Hartford last night.

The Leafs were all over the Canadiens early but clearly had the starch taken out of them by the quick goals late in the second.

From that point on, the Canadiens controlled the tempo and dominated the game physically.

If the Canadiens hoped to intimidate the Leafs, the ploy backfired early.

Steve Martinson, playing in only his third game of the season for Montréal, was sent off for roughing Lou Franceschetti at 3:37 and the Leafs said thank you just 23 seconds later.

Tom Fergus won a faceoff from Carbonneau to Roy’s right and. moments later, Tom Kurvers’ shot from the blue line was deflected over the goalie’s left shoulder by an unguarded Osborne, stationed about eight feet in front.

The Leafs deserved full marks for that goal but were plain lucky on the marker that put them ahead 2-0 at 7:01. Leeman’s pass into the crease area was nothing more than that but his intended receiver, Fergus, was well guarded. Instead, the puck ricocheted off the stick of a braking Petr Svoboda and floated into the mesh.

The teams exchanged foiled power play opportunities late in the period before Osborne staked the Leafs to what appeared to be a comfortable three-goal cushion.

Rob Ramage’s straightaway shot from 40 feet out was re-directed past Roy by Osborne while Shayne Corson was serving a roughing penalty at 18:31, but the Canadiens struck twice in the next 75 seconds and Toronto’s cushion was suddenly filled with pins.

Richer burst Reese’s bubble with 52 seconds left in the period, sending a rocket from the right circle past the Leaf netminder on the short side, and after Roy had robbed Kurvers with a splendid glove side save, Carbonneau made it a one-goal game with 14 seconds remaining.

Carbonneau took a pass from Russ Courtnall just inside the right circle and put a low shot underneath a sprawling Brian Curran and screened Reese.

The Habs carried that momentum into the second period and got the equalizer with just 4:09 gone in the period as thr Leafs suddenly began to wilt in their own end.

Brian Skrudland found McPhee alone in the slot and the veteran left winger ripped a low shot past Reese just inside the right post.

The Leafs did little to help their cause by drawing three minor penalties in the first eight minutes of the period and, even against the worst power play in the league, were flirting with disaster.

Richer finally made the Leafs pay the price at the 10:18 mark, batting a loose puck out of midair past Reese exactly two minutes after the Leafs netminder had been called for slashing.

The Leafs had two power play chances to tie the game over the final eight minutes of the period but came up empty.

NOTES: Left winger Wendel Clark is to have his injured right knee examined today to determine whether it will have to be placed in a cast…Ed Olczyk is out on a day-to-day basis…The Leafs scratched defenceman Todd Gill for the 13th straight game…The Canadiens were without Jyrki Lumme, Éric Desjardins, Brent Gilchrist and Stéphan Lebeau.

Story originally published in The Toronto Star, January 28, 1990

1st Period
MTL PEN – 03:47 – Martinson, roughing
TOR PP GOAL – 04:00 – Osborne (Kurvers, Fergus)
TOR GOAL – 07:01 – Leeman (Osborne, Fergus)
TOR PEN – 08:29 – Marsh, hooking
MTL PEN – 14:53 – Martinson, slashing
MTL PEN – 17:13 – Corson, roughing
TOR PP GOAL – 18:31 – Osborne (Ramage, Kurvers)
MTL GOAL – 19:08 – Richer (Svoboda)
MTL GOAL – 19:46 – Carbonneau (Courtnall, Walter)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:36 – Fergus, holding
TOR PEN – 01:36 – Curran, misconduct
MTL PEN – 01:36 – Martinson, misconduct
MTL GOAL – 04:09 – McPhee (Skrudland)
TOR PEN – 06:52 – Marois, tripping
TOR PEN – 08:18 – Reese, slashing
MTL GOAL – 10:18 – Richer (Corson, Naslund)
MTL PEN – 12:29 – Smith, hooking
MTL PEN – 13:25 – Lefebvre, roughing
TOR PEN – 13:25 – Osborne, roughing
MTL PEN – 14:32 – Chelios, high sticking
MTL PEN – 16:44 – Corson, roughing
TOR PEN – 16:44 – Richardson, roughing

3rd Period
MTL GOAL – 01:15 – Keane (Carbonneau)
MTL PEN – 04:16 – Lemieux, cross checking
MTL PEN – 06:20 – Chelios, high sticking
TOR PEN – 06:20 – Iafrate, high sticking
TOR PEN – 07:07 – McIntyre, hooking
MTL PEN – 07:07 – Ewen, roughing

MTL – Roy (W, 33-36)
TOR – Reese (L, 27-32)

MTL – 10+15+7 = 32
TOR – 13+12+11 = 36

MTLGoaltenders: Patrick Roy. Defence: Chris Chelios (C), Sylvain Lefebvre, Craig Ludwig, Mathieu Schneider, Petr Svoboda. Forwards: Guy Carbonneau (C), Shayne Corson, Russ Courtnall, Todd Ewen, Mike Keane, Claude Lemieux, Steve Martinson, Mike McPhee, Mats Naslund (A), Stéphane Richer, Brian Skrudland (A), Bobby Smith, Ryan Walter.
TORGoaltenders: Jeff Reese. Defence: Brian Curran, Al Iafrate, Tom Kurvers, Brad Marsh (A), Rob Ramage (C), Luke Richardson. Forwards: Vincent Damphousse, Dan Daoust, Tom Fergus, Lou Franceschetti, Gary Leeman, Daniel Marois, John McIntyre, Mark Osborne, Scott Pearson, Dave Reid, Mike Stevens, Gilles Thibaudeau.

MTL – 26-20-6 (.558)
TOR – 27-23-1 (.539)